In Arabic cut-tile work is called Zillij. This work I made on the 2nd year of my Masters and it is a copy of a zillij panel in the Jame Mosque of Yazd (built in 1330-1365 AD). Zillij is basically ceramic mosaics, the whole panel is made out of individual tile pieces.
This Yazd zillij piece is based on 10-fold geometry; the colours are traditional for the region – turquoise, cobalt blue. Zillij reflects my love to geometry and ceramics is combined with my admiration to Iranian art. During my trip to Iran in Friday mosque of Yazd I saw this zillij panel and decided to make a copy of it; it looked so fresh and lacy as if it was not made of clay. I was shocked, confused, impressed and fell in love with the work immediately. Later I realised that the beauty of zillij for me comes from the magic of geometry, clay and glaze – three ingredients of every zillij.
Traditionally each individual piece of tile was cut out of pre-fired and glazed tile. And it is still like that in Morocco and Iran, but it takes years of practice to make a perfect shape. The easier way for non-professional to use a plaster mould. Tile shapes are cut out of rubber, wood or any other modelling material, glued to the flat surface and covered with liquid plaster. Then you glaze and fire pieces, as pieces are small one firing is enough. Fired and glazed pieces I stick on a paper or on mesh face down, then cover it with adhesive to stick down to the board (or wall). Remove the paper and grout the gaps.
P.S. If you want to use materials from this post, acknowledge use please. Thanks!